There’s a renewed call to rename one of Australia’s best known cheese brands because its name is deemed offensive.
Comedian Josh Thomas took to Twitter to post an image of Coon cheese with the caption “are we still chill with this?”
He then explained that the word was widely considered to be “hate speech” and was used to belittle Indigenous Australians.
Thomas believes removing the Coon name would be a small change and would “communicate that we see them, understand their pain and respect them”.
Many followers agreed with renaming the dairy brand.
“I always feel a bit uncomfortable with this name and if it makes me feel weird then I imagine it must be worse for an Indigenous person. Would it really matter if we changed the name?” said one.
“100 per cent chill. It's a non-issue,” said one.
“I feel like you’re just stirring the pot now. It was named after the guy who made it. Taking the cheese off the shelf won’t stop the racist attitudes that people in this country have. It also won’t take back any of the racial history here either,” said another
According to Coon’s website, the brand was first established in 1935 and “recognises the work of an American, Edward William Coon, who patented a unique ripening process that was used to manufacture the original cheese”.
But Thomas wasn’t phased by those pointing out the brand’s history, saying the focus should instead be on the name’s potential to offend.
“It’s amazing the respect people have for the name of a man who invented a processing technique of cheese – who died in 1934. And the disrespect they have for black people,” Thomas wrote.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting so many of my followers to defend a word that is widely considered hate speech. I honestly thought my followers were anti-racist and compassionate.
“Like, even if you DGAF (sic) about the Aboriginal Australians who have been called this – and the pain the word represents. Surely you can see it makes Australians look silly to the rest of the world?”
A number of Aboriginal Australians, who also commented on Twitter, backed up Thomas’ view that the cheese brand should be renamed.
“I’m Indigenous and absolutely hate that word,” said one.
Another follower added, “the amount of times I was called that (name) was insane … The word is horrid”.
This article originally appeared on Over60.